Hashtag Badass

“Badass” women are going to bathe in your male tears you misogynist neckbeards. We’re not letting you have your video games, your comic books, your football, or your action movies. We’re even going to make Mad Max a feminist.

But don’t, you know, complain about it, or we might get triggered.

That high pitched whine you hear in the distance is the coordinated promotional campaign revving up for Mad Max: Fury Road. Ostensibly, it’s the latest adventure of the post-apocalyptic hero once portrayed by the greatest Aryan terrorist this side of Ben Garrison, noted Catholic philosopher Mel Gibson. But rather than Mad Max ruling the wasteland in his new portrayal by Bane (Tom Hardy), apparently he’s going to mope about following a short-haired “badass” woman portrayed by Charlize Theron. The film’s director even called in professional parasite and rape fantasist Eve Ensler to teach the various actresses about how to be “empowered.”

As the quickest way to profit in modern America is to manipulate social dynamics, this marketing strategy achieved the desired results. Men complained about what a stupid idea this was, journalists had a triumphant squee about their new feminist masterpiece, and the producers are chuckling about the buzz they’ve created before most people have even gone to see the movie.

As I haven’t seen it, it’s obviously absurd to review the film itself. Yet it’s impossible not to notice the monolithic description of the female characters as “badass.” An anti-masculinity blogger named David Futelle claps his hands together about female “postapocolyptical badasses” sticking it to the misogynists. Buzzfeed shrilly insists the film is about a “badass woman.” Indiewire lectures us about Charlize Theron as the new “badass” in a line of “badass” female action stars. And so on, dozens of articles reciting the same script, as surely as if it came from the same press release. The message is clear—Charlize Theron is a hashtag badass.

The word “badass” once had certain connotations of violence and outlawry, the prototypical badass being an antihero like an outlaw biker or a grizzled mercenary. Yet the age of Tumblr and social networking has subtly transformed the meaning: “badass” is taking on a definitively feminine connotation. “Badass” is often paired with “women” to refer to females who aren’t really doing anything dangerous or violent at all. Instead, a “badass woman” subverts masculinity, not really through action or agency, but through complaint.

For example, the media is celebrating that “radical, badass women” could be replacing America’s second greatest President (next to Polk) on the $20. “Badass” now evidently means, in the cases given, marrying your rich relative and overlooking his affairs (Eleanor Roosevelt), serving as a passive participant in a PR scam (Rosa Parks), administrating (allegedly corruptly) a glorified gambling and welfare operation (Wilma Mankiller), and serving as an exaggerated mascot in the liberation of your people by others (Harriet Tubman). Tubman alone could be said to have any real agency.

All of these are still better than who Mic tells us are “badass women,” like “body empowerment” activist Caroline Rothstein or professional lesbian and pseudo-comedian Cameron Esposito. Three Japanese women are in a band, so they are “badass” because they are breaking stereotypes. So are female Sudanese soccer players for defying sexism. Occasionally women do something truly impressive (like travel down a Mongolian river) which might deserve the term, but only because we pay the extra tribute Dr. Johnson felt towards women preachers.

Yet the most popular use of the word is to refer to online activists and SJWs, usually described as “badass.” Yet the business model of such personalities as Anita Sarkeesian or “sex educator” Laci Green is entirely based on the decidedly un-badass premises of luxury, victimization, and dependence.

Championing imaginary rights to various forms of self-indulgence and self-exaltation on technology created by other people and begging for money is the opposite of “badass.” Such “activism” and “education” consists entirely of passive-aggressive wailing that men with guns should silence those who disagree with you. And even these leading figures are less objectionable than the invariably obese and degenerate Tumblr feminists who believe calling themselves “badass” makes it true the same way they think adding the word “f***ing” to a sentence makes an argument compelling.

But what about the female “badasses” of stage and screen, who merrily butcher their way to the credits and don’t need no man? Theron’s Imperator Furiosa (groan) from Mad Max can apparently stand her ground in a world of unrestrained men who have no limits placed upon their most degraded impulses. But like the existence of transsexuals or otherkin, this is simply a pitiable exercise in wish fulfillment.

Consider the remarks of one woman who could indisputably pound me into a bloody pulp, UFC Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey. When asked if she would fight a man, she responded quite reasonably, “I just don’t think there should ever be a situation where there is an arena full of people gathered around cheering about a man hitting a woman. I really don’t see how that would be right… because it’s real. It’s a real fight. It’s not like it’s a movie or part of a storyline. It’s an actual man hitting a woman and I don’t think that’s ever acceptable.”

Even a woman who is better at masculine endeavors than most men understands masculinity is linked to violence, aggression, and primary savagery in a way femininity can never be. Outside sports or LARPing, violence isn’t about fairness or honor. It’s the infliction of pain upon those who are usually too weak or unprepared to defend themselves. And once an expectation of safety and nonaggression (created by the willingness of men with guns to uphold a social order) is broken, women, by and large, will find themselves reduced to the status of chattel. Ask the Yazidi women, now reduced to a living hell of gang rape and sex slavery even as First World busy themselves “wow, just wowing” about whatever Gavin McInnes said on Fox News.

Most fights aren’t single combat between trained opponents, but a nighttime raid on a village, the bombardment of undefended positions, or the slaughter of children and families through treachery and deceit. And whatever our pride, all of us will see a day when we are too weak and frail to defend ourselves. Death is the one constant of human history, the final defeat which waits for us at the end of the losing struggle of life.

As Joseph de Maistre noted in a passage worthy of the Skull Throne,

“Thus is worked out from maggots to man, the universal law of the violent destruction of living beings. The whole earth, continually steeped in blood, is nothing but an immense altar on which every living thing must be sacrificed without end, without restraint, without respite until the consummation of the world, the extinction of evil, the death of death.”

Whatever our fantasies about road warrior days, a relapse into a life “nasty, brutish, and short” would reduce human life to the animalistic pursuit of food, shelter, and safety in an atmosphere of constant tension, where the devious and cruel would survive. Removed from the luxuries of modern life, sustained by those she despises, the modern women posting about what a “badass” she is would discover “rape culture” isn’t about someone leaving a mean comment on her makeup tutorials on YouTube. And even the “strong” woman who has her Crossfit certification and went to the self-defense seminar at the local community college will find herself a victim in a world ruled by the gang.

In a post-apocalyptic environment, we’re less likely to see “Imperator Furiosa” than another Charlize Theron character, The Woman from the haunting 2009 film, The Road. The unnamed wife and mother, sick with grief in a grey, post-apocalyptic world that renders existence all but pointless, takes her own life rather than remaining with her husband and son to eke out another day starving and suffering. It is left to the Father, alone, to shepherd the boy in a dangerous world out of the irrational conviction that survival itself, against all odds, is worth all sacrifice. Remaining decent (and staying alive) in a world of cruelty and hopelessness is “carrying the fire,” the vague dream that humanity and civilization can be restored and people can achieve something more than holding off death for another day. Men can unleash a hell on earth, but it is that same masculine spirit which contains the only hope for beginning a higher form of life.

Yet we already live in such an “advanced” civilization, and women like Charlize Theron are its ultimate creation and beneficiaries. Director George Miller says of Theron, “I’d been staring at her for so long as this character… There’s something about her, in Charlize, in who she is as a person. You know, she is Furiosa.”

Well, Theron is currently dating Sean Penn, chiefly distinguished in his personal life for smashing ex-girlfriend Madonna over the head with a baseball bat. He also tied her to a chair and beat her for nine hours after declaring her his property. But feminism stops at the belt buckle. Theron clearly is part of the Rihanna sisterhood of “strong women” who live their lives as if they were hired to sell books for Matt Forney.

More importantly for our purposes, Theron hails from the Transvaal, the onetime homeland of the Boers, where the torture and slaughter of Afrikaner farmers surpasses anything that could be found in a Mad Max film. Naturally, before she truly became famous, she admitted the reason she left South Africa was because after apartheid fell, “there was no future for a White South African” due to new anti-White affirmative action laws.

Now, as an A lister, though Theron enjoys showing off her knowledge of Afrikaans, she says South Africa “was very well deserving of its demonization,” mourned the death of “Madiba,” compared heterosexual marriage to “apartheid” and implied she suffered from it, and has breathed not a word of protest about the wholesale slaughter of her kinsmen growing up on farms just like she did. Despite being a descendant of the great Boer military leader Danie Theron, our “Furiosa” is a hashtag badass precisely because she has abandoned everything distinctive, unique, or worthwhile about herself to serve as a pinup for the global monoculture.

Another hashtag badass, Michelle Obama, famously held up a sign telling the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram to “Bring Back Our Girls.” Not surprisingly, nothing happened. Indeed, the Obama Administration actually withheld aid to the Christian Nigerian government, supposedly because certain Administration officials supported the Muslim candidate for President. Michelle Obama’s indifference to girls she compared to her own daughters hasn’t stopped her from retaining her status as a feminist hero, and we can expect the First Lady will be an elected official in her own right soon enough (maybe after the divorce).

But when it came to people who actually saved the girls, it fell to authentic badasses, White South African badasses in fact, to get the job done. Aging veterans of old South African Defense Forces, professionals who know what it is to kill, were hired to lead the fight against Boko Haram, and have forced the Muslim insurgent group on the defensive within a matter of days. Reporters are far more concerned about the possibility of “racists” being employed than they are about the fate of the benighted schoolgirls.

In fact, many of these White mercs, despite doing more to actually help suffering Third Worlders than every Ethnic Studies major combined, may face prosecution in “democratic” South Africa when the mission is done. And the only reason they are doing it is because, like Charlize Theron once recognized, there is no future for a White South African. This is the only way they have to earn a living. Unfortunately, there’s far greater economic opportunities for pretty women to pretend to be badasses than for men who actually know how to be one.

The reality is the modern world still likes the idea of the “badass” and may even need one occasionally, but such people don’t really have a place in modern society. Years ago, in the famous case of “Epic Beard Man,” an older White man wearing a shirt reading “I Am A Badass” beat up a black man who attacked him on a public bus. A black woman who urged on the attack and then attempted to steal the White man’s belongings filmed the encounter, oblivious to how the attack appeared to others. Hollywood took the story and turned the White man into Danny Trejo, now ruthlessly attacked by White racist skinheads whom he embarrassed and defeated. The resulting cinematic abortion was duly titled Bad Ass.

It’s hard not to see something equivalent with Mad Max. “Badass” White men who exist in reality are dangerous, threatening, and uncontrollable. Cinematic or fantasy portrayals of men like this fuel unacceptable thoughts of rebellion and agency deeply unwelcome in a controlled, bourgeois society.

Instead, it is far safer to conjure up femme fatale “badasses” or tell professional complainers they are tough precisely because it is so unbelievable. People who actually possess agency don’t need to be told they are “badass” or “strong,” nor do they need hysterical marketing campaigns to keep people from saying otherwise.

After all, when hashtag badasses get riled up, they raise a few thousand dollars on Kickstarter from weaklings. When authentically dangerous White men get riled up, they conquer territory in Africa. Just ask Boko Haram. The tragedy is those who govern this twisted world are sustained by the sacrifices of those they most despise. You can scrape together a living as a warrior, but to the rest of the world, the real “badasses” are only found on a screen.